Community banks and Fintech with Brandon Oliver
Insights from Brandon Oliver of BankTech Ventures: Fintech's Role in Empowering Community Banks

The Purpose and Opportunity of Community Banks with Brandon Oliver of BankTech Ventures

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:

In this episode of PayPod we explore the critical role of community banks in the fintech landscape and how they are poised to thrive in the digital age. Joining us is Brandon Oliver, a venture capitalist at BankTech Ventures. We’ll delve into the insights and trends that shape this unique intersection of fintech and community banking, and discover the compelling mission of BankTech Ventures. Brandon shares his personal journey, underlining the importance of community banks in today’s ever-evolving financial landscape.

Lessons You’ll Learn:

During this episode, you’ll discover the pivotal role that community banks played during the pandemic and why they continue to be significant in the broader US economy. Gain insights into how BankTech Ventures uniquely serves as a strategic investment fund for community banks, driving innovation and enhancing their competitiveness within the fintech landscape. Explore the potential for a domino effect in the adoption of fintech solutions by community banks, paving the way for a promising future.

About Our Guest:

Brandon Oliver, a venture capitalist at BankTech Ventures, brings his passion for community banking and a wealth of experience in the fintech sector. Born and raised in Boston, he has a unique perspective on the critical role of community banks in the financial industry.

Topics Covered:

In our conversation with Brandon Oliver, we explore the evolution of community banking and its pivotal role in providing Paycheck Protection Program loans during the pandemic. We discuss how BankTech Ventures serves as an extension of the R&D efforts of community banks, bringing innovation and competitiveness to the sector. Brandon also shares his journey from JP Morgan to private equity and ultimately to the fintech ecosystem, highlighting the democratizing effect and the potential consolidation within the community banking sector.

Our Guest: Fintech Investment with Brandon Oliver at BankTech Ventures

Brandon Oliver, a Venture Capitalist at BankTech Ventures, plays an instrumental role in propelling the organization’s mission to invest in cutting-edge technology companies serving community banks. With a sharp focus on fintech solutions for banking, Brandon also brings to the table his prowess in market research, management, organizational alignment, and financial analysis, among other areas. He’s driven by the goal of revolutionizing the banking sector by nurturing startups that drive banks’ competitiveness and growth.

In January 2021, Brandon also joined Startup Boston on the founder track lead, an organization dedicated to the development and celebration of groundbreaking innovators. There, he is instrumental in organizing events that provide a platform for entrepreneurs to learn, network, and grow. His tenure as the Operations Manager at DCU FinTech Innovation Center is particularly noteworthy, where he bridged the gap between budding fintech startups and established financial institutions, providing them with essential mentorship and resources. He also made significant contributions at Cobu, where he aimed to solve residential loneliness, and The Doormen, a service simplifying the process of furnishing new apartments.

Brandon’s academic laurels include a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) with a concentration in Finance from Bentley University. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Corporate Finance and Accounting from the same esteemed institution. Apart from his professional commitments, Brandon is deeply embedded in the Boston community, being involved in multiple activities during his university years, such as Bentley Men’s Rugby and the Black United Body, among others. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Brandon’s endeavors have made him a familiar face in the fintech sector, both locally and beyond.

BankTech Ventures - Pioneering Fintech Solutions for Community Banks.

Episode Transcript

Brandon Oliver: Open source is a great way to magnify. Think of it as taking advantage of doing the tasks that are manual. They’re onerous. They’re more quantitative in nature than they are qualitative. And allow your employees to open up their bandwidth to focus on more important things, but test it in a closed ecosystem first to see if it fits.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Welcome to PayPod, the Payments Industry podcast. Each week, we’ll bring you in-depth conversations with leaders who are shaping the payments and fintech world from payment processing to risk management and from new technology to entirely new payment types. If you want to know what’s happening in the world of fintech and payments, you’re in the right place.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Hello, everyone. Welcome to PayPod. I’m your host, Jacob Hollabaugh. And today on the show, we are going to be once again looking through the lens of an investor into the fintech world, but this time with an eye specifically on the world of community banks. And I have the great fortune of being joined today by Brandon Oliver, venture capitalist at BankTech Ventures, the investment fund finding and Funding Strategic Tech Solutions for community banks. Brandon, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Brandon Oliver: Hey, Jacob. Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Jacob Hollabaugh: The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for being here. Let’s get us started here, get a little background on you yourself before we dive into bank tech and the entire kind of fintech space that you’re investing in. What drew you to the world of finance originally, and what was the path like to end up leading a fintech investment team?

Brandon Oliver: Yeah, happy to share the background. So Brandon Oliver, born and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts area and grew up in a small town called Billerica. It’s a very much a blue-collar town full of firefighters, cops, nurses, construction workers. And through that vein of camaraderie and familiarity with that demographic of people, you start wanting to give back to those individuals later on in life. And I never went the route of becoming a doctor or anything like that. And I found out that I just really loved numbers. I was a numbers geek and I come to find out later on in life that my affinity for community finance stems from my mom, who was actually a bank teller at a community bank in North Reading, Mass, my first community bank. And my dad used to make up reasons to go visit her at the branch. So she was a teller. She’d be at the window. He would come in three, four days out of the week and really have nothing to do or say and nothing to deposit. Just wanted to say hi. So I found my love for the community banking sector really stems really predates me, I should say, which has been fascinating to learn. And it was through that love going through my schooling and getting involved in the startup world that I was trying to figure out a way, how can I merge the two. My career started off at JP Morgan. I thought that’s the route everyone wanted to go.

Brandon Oliver: I graduated from Bentley University and most kids went off to the Big four or big financial firm. Just realized it wasn’t for me. Went the private equity route for a certain amount of time. Got to learn a lot from the partners there. They were all lean Six Sigma black belts and really operationally focused, so it didn’t really want to continue on that thread. Built my own company or a couple of companies with friends of mine, so got my feet wet in the startup world and really understood the plight of the founder and then eventually got picked up by the FinTech Innovation Center, which was a pre-seed fintech accelerator based in Boston that helped a lot of early stage founders find their product market fit, helping them make sure that what their fintech solution was doing was solving a problem that existed and not really manufacturing the problem around the solution they’ve already built. So you bring in a lot of banks, a lot of credit unions, executives to talk about their perspective. And the founders could just really build towards that initiative and hopefully find that first excuse me, beta pilot customer later on. That’s how I fell into this ecosystem of, Oh wow, I can actually take bits and pieces of my career and find almost like full circle why I can work within the BankTech Ventures ecosystem and hopefully add value to both the founders, but also the bankers that exist or try to coexist in the financial service sector.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, that’s amazing. Can you give us then you started to do so there. But the high-level overview for me and the listeners of Who BankTech Ventures is what you do and this unique ecosystem setup that you have going on there.

Brandon Oliver: Yeah, sure. So BankTech Ventures is really one of a few funds out there that was built by community bankers for community bankers. So a lot of community banks, they see what’s going on in the fintech world. They want to be involved. Sometimes the fintech solutions that are being pitched to them, they realize that their bank isn’t particularly ready to adopt that solution. Maybe they don’t have the foundational piece in place. Maybe it’s a little further out, or maybe it’s talking about a piece of the financial service world that’s not relevant to their institution. And that’s all well and good, But we had a partnership. We had a partnership with the Icba Think tech accelerator that brings in very similar to the accelerator I was helping run in Boston, bringing in these financial professionals to offer their insights to different cohorts of fintechs accepted into the program, and they were able to pull in 200 plus community banks across the country. What those bankers began to realize was, Hey, we would love a vehicle that allows us to participate in the upside of these companies, even if we’re not a good fit for them individually.

Brandon Oliver: So that’s how the conversation started. And what we’ve become now is really I don’t like calling us a venture capital fund. I don’t think that’s the right definition. I prefer to call us a strategic investment fund or really more accurately, an extension of the R&D effort of each and every community bank out there. So these community. Invested in our vehicle are essentially saying, listen, we would love to leverage your guys experience and your exposure to the fintech ecosystem. Help us find a curated pipeline of fintechs that are relevant to my bank. And then over time, maybe I can adopt them and you guys can help us build that strategic roadmap of adoption to stay competitive against some of the big guys out there or to stay competitive against the bank competitive fintechs that are popping up. So if we do our job correctly and playing a bit of matchmaker and and vetting these companies at the each individual bank level, then really the fund ROI is a byproduct. We create our own little flywheel scenario.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, I love that. And it would make sense that because the next thing I want to ask is why community banks in the first place. Because I think a lot of folks within the industry or even plenty outside the industry just looking would think like that’s probably one of the people or the pieces of this whole financial ecosystem that might get left behind by all of the changes of the last couple decades and the changes that are going to continue to happen and evolutions that are going to continue to happen. And you being able to step in and say the obvious reason why they might get left behind is they don’t have the resources necessarily to either make any of these things themselves or have the teams that can go find the solutions for them. And then again, a lot of the solutions aren’t necessarily to be made for them because they are these one-off relationships. So to have someone step in and say, we’ll be coach, so to speak, or the one communal point that attaches all of you and builds that bridge between the worlds makes sense of being a really valuable position, but still leads me to ask the question of why community banks in the first place. We heard a little of your personal connection that, yeah, it predates you. You were born with this connection in you. Whether you knew it right away or it came to you later. But why the kind of dedication to supporting the community banks And am I wrong in thinking that the kind of perception would be there? Maybe one of the players in the industry that is going to get left behind by a lot of this and you’re over here being like, No, we’re not going to let that happen. We’re going to support them to be able to take part in everything as it moves forward. 

Brandon Oliver: Yeah, and it’s probably the biggest question I get on a regular basis, whether it’s from fintech founders, people, my own family members. It’s a constant data, especially being on the coast here in the Boston area where you’re more inundated or more likely to come across big banks or neo banks or point solution fintechs out there. People don’t realize the omnipresence that community MFIs have in your daily life. And it really stems back to for me, the biggest epiphany was during the pandemic years. You had the Paycheck Protection Program launching the ones that really punched 2 to 3 times above their weight class, where community banks in helping small businesses in particular keep their doors open and offering these paycheck program loans. And there was this, I think before the pandemic, there was this kind of connotation in the community banking space of how do we survive? How do we continue surviving in this ecosystem? And then in this post-pandemic era, it’s no longer how do we survive? As how do we continue thriving? Because they had this realization where, oh no, I do serve a very large purpose in the greater macroeconomic health of the US economy. I mean, really, community banks became the backbone of the US economy during that time. And so when you think about why should we help those community banks out or what purpose do they serve? I mean, I think they’ve already proved that over the past 4 to 6 years.

Brandon Oliver: And for us to continue to help them thrive allows you and I as individuals and our small businesses to continue thriving as well. Because without those community banks, we lose that democratic optionality that makes portion of this country so great, in my opinion. So that’s why community banks and with BankTech Ventures, there’s still around 4000 or so different community banking brands across the country. We only have about over we say only, but we have over 100 community banks that are involved in our first fund. So there’s 100 banks that have actively said, yes, we serve a purpose, yes, we want to be better, we want to adapt, we want to innovate, and we will do whatever we can to help out our small business and retail customers. And we feel very strongly that there is almost a domino effect that is bound to happen across the landscape where we’re not the only fund doing this flywheel scenario. There’s a few others that are friends of ours, but those didn’t exist again five, six years ago. So I’m excited about the opportunity that community banks have in the future, even if there is going to be a bit more consolidation. 

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, and I think it’s really smart to point out like we have hopefully people have learned in the last few years and certainly through the pandemic, the power and the outsized influence and use that these banks do have because I think it does come back to like a lot of things in across our society of that most of the a lot of the folks are in the big cities are on the coast or when we’re talking. About a bunch of high-level crazy new concepts in the industry. We forget that the vast majority geographically of the country might be served by these community banks first and foremost. And I myself come from a very small town where I have some of the same like natural inclination to like, I want those supported me and everyone I knew in my life, my entire childhood and early adulthood. And I want them to have everything possible. And so I just love hearing one someone be able to say like, there is real use. And I’m glad we’re hopefully a lot more people woke up to that in the last few years when that use has been really proven and that they certainly still have a very important place in the future ecosystem.

Jacob Hollabaugh: It folks like yourself can help them connect to some of the new-age evolutions that they’re going to need to do. And so with that position that you have of building that bridge between the two sides and being the connector in that flywheel approach you’ve referenced, you’ve mentioned a few of the kind of obvious benefits of that, but it does seem to be both a place that is a little bit of a unique concept. And you touched on there’s a few others may be starting to do it. How unique of a concept is this? Was there anyone you were looking at maybe in a different industry or a different part of the financial world or anything that you were like that had seen the concept work before, now you’re applying it or was it wholly unique? And then there are any other benefits of holding this kind of unique position that come for yourselves or for either side of that relationship?

Brandon Oliver: Yeah, I think my momentum really came from the accelerator space, regardless of the type of accelerator it was. This concept of bringing in the potential buyers or investors into the space itself to teach these founders on what it is that they need to see and what they need the product to be to then at the end of that program move forward was a very interesting concept. And being able to run one or being a part of the team that ran one for a number of years, it was an easy transition into the BankTech ecosystem. I think the only difference was you just had a little bit more resources to play with to build this out and scale it larger. So I would say that you know, when we look within our own limited partner network and the strategic uniqueness of what we do, those 100 plus banks that are in our first fund, they cover 33 states, right? 33 out of the 50. So we get a pretty good sense of what’s going on in the community banking landscape across the country where we start seeing different threads or trends that maybe become investment theses over time. And if we start seeing 20% of banks, 30% of banks, 40% of banks really echoing the similar next-generationar problem, regardless of their state or geography or demographic customer, that becomes a major next generation banking solution we need to find. So if we can communicate that like in an accelerator model to these founders so they can start building the solutions towards that problem, then we know that we have a pretty good idea of how well this company is going to do in the future.

Brandon Oliver: We try to add value to each stakeholder in the process, right? The banks are able to find curated, vetted companies that are solving real problems. The companies themselves that we invest in are able to be given an almost curated pipeline of banks that could become potential customers of theirs at the same time. And we facilitate the introductions and conversations and hopefully it’s not a first-time conversation the bank is having with that company. Really, it feels as though they’re starting a conversation number 5 or 6 because of all the work we’ve already done upfront. So I think a portion of our funding I think is very important to exemplify in this question is the fact that, like I said on paper, yes, we are a venture capital fund. I think more in practice, like I said, we’re an extension of that bank because half our team is devoted to vetting these companies as if we’re the bank buying it. So we’re putting these fintechs through the vendor due diligence process that any bank does with a third party vendor in order to make sure that it fits the bank’s architecture, it is going to be able to integrate with that core. There are whatever red flags could come up, we get ahead of them. They are soc1 soc2 compliant. These are questions that a lot of early-stage fintech founders especially aren’t prepared for. We try to get them situated and buttoned up so by the time they’re in put in front of the bank. Re ideal situation is the time to first conversation to launch takes a matter of weeks as opposed to months to maybe even years on end.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, that’s fascinating. And that leads me right into the you have a different lens. Then on a question I like to ask the different investors we have on the show here, which is when you’re considering the an investment or a partnership, more so in your case here. First part, are you more focused on the founder, the team behind the thing that is being presented to you or the idea or product itself? If you lean one way or the other as far as which one is more important or inspires the most confidence. And then with either side of that, are there specific characteristics you are looking for to signal this is a person or idea worth? Investing some time in. Are there any that stand out above you kind of reference you have your a bit of a checklist there that is probably more in-depth than most because of this slightly different role you play as like the R&D of the banks versus just a regular investment firm. But are there any characteristics that kind of stand out that are like initial signals that if you get those, you’re like, Oh, we should spend some time really doing our due diligence on this one?

Brandon Oliver: It’s a great question, so I can break it down to certain parts. The product side, obviously the product has to be answering the call of what’s going on right now and also have legs to grow at the pace the bank is allowing it to grow at. So we have to be what we call kind of shovel ready, right where the product itself, it’s already got traction, it’s already got the use case in line to show a bank how they would do it based on another bank already doing it once. The bank can easily put themselves in that other bank’s shoes, adopt it tomorrow, but then at the same time actually would listen to a couple of the other podcasts. You had Brent Jackson from Trapaga on not too long ago, and he’s one of our investment and he had a great response around this concept of you have to continue innovating, right? You can’t just stop at where the product is. You have to show a product roadmap. But again, it’s interesting because it has to be at a pace digestible to each and every individual bank so you can shoot for the moon. But if the banking system is not ready for it, you got to figure out how to communicate that and do more of a piecemeal approach. So the product side, that’s very specific. From a traction side, we can put some parameters down, but they’re pretty flexible. Ideally, they’re doing maybe about a million an hour. Um, ideally they have somewhere between like maybe five and ten different community financial institutions that are working with them because again, it shows that traction and a clear trend in how a bank can jump in.

Brandon Oliver: But again, a lot of our things, like I mentioned, is dictated by the wants and needs of the banks. So if the bank say, Hey, we need a digital account opening solution and we go out, scour the landscape, we find what we believe to be the top three and the number one we think we might make an investment in is actually a company that’s like in a Series B situation or maybe even a Pre-seed or an ideation stage. It might be one that we want to continue pursuing regardless of that traction because we feel it’s the best product, right? And so we start playing with those hard parameters a bit to make sure that we are focusing on not just what’s relevant today for banking, but what is the next generation of banking looking like and who can best supply that and society. Your question about the founder, that’s where the other side comes in, right? It’s does the founder have background in banking? Were they involved in community bank at one point in time? Did they spin the company out of a bank, which has happened a couple of times with a few of our portfolio companies like Z Suite? Or if not, do they at least understand banking? Do they understand the banker and all the hoops they have to jump through from regulation and compliance to vendor management to their day to day responsibility? Some of them, they’re going through M&A, they’re acquiring another whole bank itself, and that’s a major priority for them that year. So understanding their priorities, their timelines and willingness to adopt technology allows us to better build that bridge between the two sides.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, and especially the end there. You could tell you definitely are walking the walk of like having the bank partner in mind with that to make sure that they might be the best. But do they are they the best for this specific bank or our system of banks that we’re working with? And are they are they the best right now? But are they going to actually do they care about maintaining being the best for this group versus for the more broader banking world or finance world? So love hearing that. Let’s pivot to some kind of news and trends. I’d love to get your thoughts on, one of which has been a frequent topic throughout the year on this show and across the wider financial universe. The biggest news event of the year probably is still the collapse of SVB back in the first months of the year. And the fallout, the reactions that came from that event. The FinTech world specifically had a lot of ties to SVB and is very much been impacted by it with your position. And this is one of those moments even we mentioned the pandemic and everything that happened with that in the financial world is showing the strength of community banks. I imagine this was also another event that kind of juxtaposes the different types of banks that people might be using or the different roles different ones would play. What was your initial reaction to the SVB collapse earlier this year and did that event or any industry reactions to it surprise you in any way?

Brandon Oliver: Yeah. Had a lot of friends that worked at SVB and FB and Signature, and at the time you knew they were going to be okay. They’re all very, very intelligent. I knew they were going to be able to find new positions at other banks, which surprisingly was a bit of an opportunity for most community banks to attract new talent. That could change, make huge cultural impacts into how they think about the bank and fintech collaborative space. I think the thing that most surprised me was the push by a lot of outlets to try to connect this to 2008 when they were very, very unique. Obviously you had a systemic issue in 2008, but with this, you had isolated incidents that were just unfortunate to say, but poor balance sheet management really, and to try to make it a story that was going to be a bit more of a contagion situation. I mean, I can tell you from our 100 plus bank and the banks that actually aren’t involved in our fund, but we have close ties to because they still offer great insight to us. We found that they were reaching out to us saying like, hey, if any of your companies or any companies you come across are looking for new homes because they’ve been displaced, let them know that our doors are open.

Brandon Oliver: There were plenty of banks out there that I think because of this innovative appetite that they have became attractive areas for these other companies that got displaced to land. Right. And we know some of the big banks are able to attract some of those deposits. But a lot of these smaller banks were as well as these founders and small business owners started to hedge their own operating accounts going up to the 250,000 limit, the FDIC insured limit. But I was surprised at the attempt to try to make as hard a connection as they as was being done. But I was encouraged to see a lot of banks jump in and answer the call. I mean, my LinkedIn feed was full of all the banks connected to reaching out, saying, If you’re displaced, we’re right here, right? Email me directly. These are the presidents, CEOs, chairmen giving out their personal emails on public to say, reach out, we’re here. It was very happy to see that side of the whole situation.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, every industry has to deal with how the media reacts and reports on things they have, but there are difficulties or pros and cons to how that all goes about. But I think the financial world with the way the sensationalism that the media might sometimes be or sometimes the the doomsday stuff plays a little bit better, definitely has an outsized impact on the financial world for moments like that where it’s this thing just got escalated a lot further than maybe those of us in the industry that actually know what’s happening are looking around like it’s not that. And so I can imagine that that is certainly difficult to deal with.

Brandon Oliver: I think SVB FRB signature, I think they showed a lot of other community banks on, Hey, here’s some of the foundational things that these founders or these customers are expecting of you as they transition over. Right. And so I think in a way, it offered them an innovative roadmap as well, say, okay, this is what you got out of FRB. This is what you got out of Silicon Valley. We eventually offer this for you to probably want to stay with us. And I think that’s been very appealing because a lot of times banks don’t know. They don’t know until you shine a spotlight on it. So this was a again, maybe it’s a silver too much of a silver lining situation, in my opinion, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity there.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, certainly. And then I hadn’t really even fully grasped either, like you said at the very beginning of that of the talent dump into the market that there was after that too, that there was suddenly a huge amount of very talented, very smart people looking for a new home. And so while that’s I wish they wouldn’t have had to go through their own little transition in life and everything, it does create another big opportunity for different banks and different folks in the system to grab some of them up and bring some of the ideas that they would have had there into their world. The next thing I want to ask about then is fintech, obviously super broad category. There’s a lot of different things. These banks that you’re working with, a lot of different parts of the banking world, the payments world, everything that they’re working on. Are there any specific areas of the ecosystem of banking that stick out to you as especially with the community banks who maybe are a little further behind than the massive banks that are evolving a little at a little faster pace? Are there any specific areas of the ecosystem stick out as the most ripe for change or improvement right now? Or maybe viewed a slightly different way, an area of the ecosystem you’re most commonly being pitched to by new companies that operate in that area or most commonly, hearing from your banking partners. We need this new type of solution. Go out and find us something that does this.

Brandon Oliver: That last part. There is a great way to say it. We do a onboarding with each one of our banks individually to understand their key lines of business strengths, weaknesses, their kind of customer demographic, how they’ve done fintech collaborations in the past and their experiences there, and how they’re soliciting feedback from their customers. And all that really helps us figure out, okay, are there themes or theses that are not being talked about? Right? That kind of. That’s when you start finding those more your grass grassroots bank architecture themes that might lead to more back office process automation. Maybe it’s figuring out ways to find net new deposits for a bank that they’ve been overlooking. Maybe it’s figuring out ways to find non-interest income, right? So those are always the underlying ones that we’re on the lookout for. Within the fintech landscape. From the national media headlines, you can’t really go far without talking about a few. It’s fednow and real time payments. That’s been a major topic over the summer for us. It’s an interesting concept because going back to how we do the interviews with the banks, you come to find out that, yes, they want to be part of the conversation when it comes to fednow in real time payments.

Brandon Oliver: But again, maybe they’re not ready to adopt that technology yet, and that’s fine. You start figuring out what is your crawl, walk run scenario to eventually being able to adopt a real time payment solution. And that’s how we find the fintechs that are often overlooked. Maybe it’s a payments gateway that connects to other payment systems that’s going to adopt real time payments in the future. Maybe it’s actually opening up the conversation on payments around check fraud and fraud prevention in general, things that have been going on in banking for decades, and yet no one’s really been focusing on it. Everyone wants to focus on the next thing. It’s been a very fascinating conversation within the payments space itself, I think we’re more aligned with focusing on solving problems within the existing rails. So check ach wire. You also can’t go far. I think you’re going to bring this up. But I write. Everyone’s talking about AI and what are you going to do there? We’re actually funny enough, myself and my colleague Katie Quilligan, we’ve done a couple of presentations with different banking associations talking about AI and how it’s community banking, but not so much how it’s going to change community banking, how banks can adopt it at a change of pace that suits them best and how they should test these things out.

Brandon Oliver: We have a few companies that were trying this out with, but the flip side of that is also making sure they understand that regulators are going to crack down on any company that puts AI in their name, even. Right? So it’s traversing this landscape to say, okay, we know you want to talk about AI, let’s talk about it. What’s accessible? We believe these 4 or 5 six use cases are accessible, may not be relevant to your bank, but probably a good first step. And also feel free to check it out and test these technologies on your own in a compliant way. Right? Maybe you don’t do it from your your network servers. Maybe you do it at home, you test out some of these components, see if they fit your bank. But think of it really as like a digital intern, right? Think of it as taking advantage of doing the tasks that are manual. They’re onerous. They’re more quantitative in nature than they are qualitative. And allow your employees to open up their bandwidth to focus on more important things, but test it in a closed ecosystem first to see if it fits.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, I like that. And I really like the idea of taking the that you said the crawl walk run approach. And I think certainly I am guilty of this on this show and the different things we’re talking about here of always thinking what’s the future hold and then acting like. And I think a lot in the industry of folks act like, well, whatever, that future is, where it’s here tomorrow and the stuff it’s going to maybe replace or change is replaced or changed tomorrow. And that that leaves the opportunity for someone like yourself to actually say, well, there’s still a long roadmap. What if my banks aren’t ready to adopt those tomorrow, but maybe in the future who can help us actually do the next step that gets us a little bit away there and the next step? And that leaves a lot of opportunity that I think a lot in the industry maybe might be ignoring when only thinking about the shiniest, most futuristic option or the massive change that ultimately might take ten years, 15 years, whatever to occur. And what’s all the opportunity between now and that end period. So fascinating stuff. Brandon. This has been a real pleasure. For those listening who may want to follow you, learn more about BankTech Ventures, keep up with everything you and the company have going on. Where would be the best place for them to go to find you?

Brandon Oliver: Yeah, I mean, we’re pretty active online, especially LinkedIn. We also have an open email account for anyone who wants to reach out to learn more. It’s info at We are often on the road traveling to different fintech-related conventions, banking related conventions. If you’re a bank that’s curious about your future strategy around innovation around fintech, always happy to talk shop and just discuss what we’re seeing in the landscape. If you’re a fintech that’s actively trying to sell into the banking ecosystem, happy to talk as well. To give you the insight of what the bankers are talking about. But really, any way that we continue to be that bridge, always happy to help.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Fantastic. We’ll link to those and more in the show notes below. Brandon, thank you so much for your time and sharing your insights with myself and those listening greatly. Appreciate it and look forward to maybe doing it again sometime down the road.

Brandon Oliver: Yeah. Thanks, Jacob. Thanks so much for having me. Appreciate it.

Jacob Hollabaugh: If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more, head on over to to subscribe on your podcast listening platform of choice. That’s